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Command line VNC client

Project description

Python Versions PyPi Package Python Versions Actions Status ReadTheDocs Code style: black


vncdotool is a command line VNC client. It can be useful to automating interactions with virtual machines or hardware devices that are otherwise difficult to control.

It’s under active development and seems to be working, but please report any problems you have.

Quick Start

To use vncdotool you will need a VNC server. Most virtualization products include one, or use RealVNC, TightVNC or clone your Desktop using x11vnc.

Once, you have a server running you can install vncdotool from pypi:

pip install vncdotool

and then send a message to the vncserver with:

vncdo -s vncserver type "hello world"

The vncserver argument needs to be in the format address[:display|::port]. For example:

# connect to on default port 5900
vncdo -s type "hello world"

# connect to localhost on display :3 (port 5903)
vncdo -s localhost:3 type "hello world"

# connect to on port 5902 (two colons needed)
vncdo -s type "hello world"

# connect via IPv6 to localhost on display :3 (port 5903)
vncdo -s '[::1]:3' type "hello IPv6"
#         ^   ^ mind those square brackets around the IPv6 address

You can also take a screen capture with:

vncdo -s vncserver capture screen.png

More documentation can be found on Read the Docs.


If you need help getting VNCDoTool working try the community at _Stackoverflow

Patches, and ideas for improvements are welcome and appreciated, via _GitHub issues. If you are reporting a bug or issue please include the version of both vncdotool and the VNC server you are using it with.


Thanks to Chris Liechti, techtonik and Todd Whiteman for developing the RFB and DES implementations used by vncdotool. Also, to the TigerVNC project for creating a community focus RFB specification document

1.2.0 (2023-06-06)

  • fixes for api.shutdown and disconnect raise exceptions, #256

1.1.0 (2023-04-01)

Huge thanks to @pmhahn for single handedly driving conversion to modern Python3, as well as cleaning up a ton of outstanding issues.

  • [BREAKING] drop python 2.x support, thanks @pmhahn

  • Use built-in Unittest and mock for testing

  • PEP-484 type hinting, thanks @pmhahn

  • Doc improvements, thanks @luke-jr, @pmhahn, @samiraguiar

  • Test for byte handling, thanks @ponty, refs #177

  • Internal implementation of DES replaced by PyCrotodomeX

  • Support for Apple Remote Desktop (ARD), thanks @andywgrant, @pmhahn

  • Support for pseudo-encoding LastRec, thanks @pmhahn

  • Support for Extended QEMU Key Events, thanks @pmhahn

  • Support IPv6 addresses for server connection, thanks @pmhahn

  • Bugfix, use configured log outputs over stdout, thanks @pevogam

  • Bugfix, handle invalid password, thanks @dozysun

  • Bugfixes for loggingproxy, thanks @joachimmetz, @pmhahn, @guicho271828

1.0.0 (2020-04-10)

  • add ZRLE encoding, thanks Adrian Weiler

  • drop python2 support

  • fix mouseDrag behaviour, thanks Samir Aguiar

0.13.0 (2019-11-21)

  • new flag –incremental-refreshes, increased compatibility of capture, thanks Amir Rossert

  • exit non-zero and print to stderr for unknown commands, thanks Amir Rossert

0.12.1 (2018-12-06)

  • bugfix expectRegion to use cropped images for compare, thanks Michael Fürnschuß

  • direct support for building RPMs, thanks Plamen Dimitrov

0.12.0 (2018-04-07)

  • connect via UNIX sockets, thanks Matteo Cafasso

  • bugfix, XTightVNC initial connection, thanks Antti Kervinen

0.11.2 (2017-09-24)

  • fix version metadata, thanks Kevin Gottsman

0.11.1 (2017-07-23)

  • add api.client.disconnect()

  • fix python2.x compatibility, thanks Ostrosablin Vitaly

0.11.0 (2017-06-09)

  • enable PSEUDO_DESKTOP_SIZE_ENCODING by default to allow desktop resizing, thanks rebasegod

  • python 3.0 support, thanks jamtwister

  • added pastefile command, thanks Rogan Dawes

  • debian packaging improvements, thanks Alexander Kläser

  • fix loggingproxy, thanks Matthias Weckbecker

0.10.0 (2016-03-03)

  • drop official 2.6 support, it’ll probably work for a while still

  • use frombytes rather than fromstring for compatibility with PIL

  • vnclog works with password protected servers using –password-required

  • exit more reliably after an error

  • use increatmental frameBufferUpdateRequests, appears to be compatible with more servers

  • include basic version negotiation with servers, thanks Ezra Bühler

0.9.0 (2015-05-08)

  • add special keys [~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?] to –force-caps, for servers that don’t handle them, Tyler Oderkirk, Aragats Amirkhanyan

  • improve vnclog performance with TCP_NODELAY, Ian Britten

  • by default pause 10ms between sending commands, better compatibility with servers

  • better handle screen resizing, Daniel Stelter-Gliese

  • API, fix deadlocks due to threaded init of PIL, thanks Antti Kervinen

  • API, support password protected server, thanks Antti Kervinen

  • API, able to connect to multiple servers, Daniel Stelter-Gliese

  • drop official support for py2.4 and py2.5

  • use Pillow rather than PIL

Thanks to Jan Sedlák, Daniel Stelter-Gliese, Antti Kervinen, Anatoly Techtonik, Tyler Oderkirk and Aragats Amirkhanyan for helping make this release possible

0.8.0 (2013-08-06)

  • improved documentation using sphinx

  • regional capture and expect that operate on a portion of the display

  • –force-caps, better compatibility when sending UPPERCASE to servers

  • –timeout, exit with an error after a given number of seconds

  • experimental synchronous API for easier integration with non-Twisted apps

0.3.0 (2012-12-22)

  • main program renamed to vncdo, vncdotool continues an alias for now

  • use host:display, host::port syntax like other vnc tools, removed -d

  • read/play commands from stdin or file

  • vnclog, creates scripts from captured interactive sessions

  • better control over mouse in screen captures with –nocursor and –localcursor

  • mousemove, sleep command aliases to match xdotool

  • keyup/keydown commands for more control over keypresses

  • send SetEncodings on connect, thanks Matias Suarez for fix

  • debian packaging

  • type “Hello World” now preserves capitalization

  • basic compatibility with VNC 4.0 servers, found in some KVMs

  • improved frameUpdate handling

  • –warp to replay script faster than real-time

  • –delay, insert a delay between sending commands

0.2.0 (2012-08-07)

  • add pause, mouseup, mousedown, drag commands

  • only require Twisted 11.1.0, so we can have py2.4 support

  • bugfixes, thanks Christopher Holm for reporting
    • vncdotool type -something now works

    • no longer silently fail for unsupported image formats

0.1.1 (2011-05-18)

  • add PIL to requires

  • fix bug where incorrect mouse button is sent

0.1.0 (2011-03-03)

  • first release

  • commands: press, type, move, click, capture, expect

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